Abia: Tribunal grants petitioners’ plea for INEC to tender further documents

The National/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia Monday granted the to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce further documents as exhibits. 

The petitioners comprising the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Mr Martins Apugo, are challenging the outcome of the February 23 election in Umuahia/Ikwuano federal constituency.

The first petitioner, Apugo, in the petition is asking the tribunal to declare him winner of the election or declare the election inconclusive.

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Sam Onuigbo, was declared winner of the election by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a development the APC candidate found fault with.

The petition challenging the declaration, Onuigbo is listed as the first respondent, while the PDP and INEC are the second and third respondents respectively. 

The petitioners had filed an on July 29, urging the panel to compel the REC to produce additional list of voters’ register in some of the polling units in the three local government areas that made up the constituency. 

But the respondents in their counter-affidavits urged the panel to dismiss the application of the petitioners as lacking in merit. 

In his seven-paragraph counter-motion, Mr Ugochuchukwu Epuchie, counsel to INEC argued that there was a timeframe given for all parties to open and close their cases. 

The counsel further said the pre-hearing section took care of all the documents that should be relied upon, adding that the submission after the required period was in breach of the electoral law. 

Ruling on the application, the chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Cornelius Akintayo, declared that the application was meritorious and therefore subsisted. 

He adjourned sitting till tomorrow (August 7) to enable the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) to produce the documents. 

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